More than 100 million tonnes of waste is produced annually in the UK, and each year this figure is increasing by around 3%. The scale of waste generated in this country and overseas is enormous. With limited resources and land to dispose of waste, as well as the pressing need to minimise the impact on the environment, how waste is removed and managed is a key concern. But, what is waste removal exactly and what does the term cover?
Essentially, waste removal involves the collection, removal, and disposal of both household and business waste. It also concerns the activities, processes, and methods associated with the collection, transportation, and disposal of the waste.
Since waste removal has a huge environmental impact, and may pose a safety risk to human health if it’s not disposed of carefully, the processes of waste disposal need to be continually monitored and regulated.
How waste is collected and disposed of depends on what kind of item or product is being thrown away. It could be a solid, liquid or a gas. For example, one process to remove or dispose of a solid item might not be environmentally friendly, efficient or safe for a liquid or a gas.
The aim of most waste removal systems is to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible so that the minimum amount of waste is generated at the end of a product’s life cycle. For this reason, when waste is removed, it is usually separated according to whether it can be reused or recycled in its future life. This will also affect the price of waste removal costs
Most kinds of waste are removed during kerbside collections by the local authority or a private company. There are also waste disposal sites that collect a wider range of waste that may not be suitable for kerbside collections.
A waste removal company manages the collection and disposal of waste. They are experts in their field, and have the know-how to understand which items need to be disposed where and by which particular method. They also have the knowledge to dispose of hazardous items safely, and which kinds of waste can be recycled.
After removing the waste during kerbside collections, a waste removal company has a number of options for the processing of the waste materials.
The oldest form of waste disposal is to deposit the waste in a big hole in the ground, or landfill site, and cover it up. The problem with this method is that land is increasingly becoming scarce, and there is the worry that harmful substances could leach into the soil and water systems, posing an environmental threat.
Solid, liquids and gases are also often incinerated, which means they are burned at very high temperatures to create a heat, steam or a gas. The benefit of this waste disposal system is that it can reduce the volume of waste by up to 95%.
Increasingly, many waste items can now be recycled, with paper, cardboard, aluminium, glass, copper, steel and some types of rubber all suitable for being disposed of by waste management companies in a way that will give them a renewed purpose. Recycling waste helps to save on energy consumption and the reliance of scarce raw materials.
As well as removing household waste, many waste management companies specialise in removing rubbish generated by businesses of every size, scale and type. From waste created in a shop, restaurant or factory, to unwanted substances generated in construction, agricultural and demolition industries, all commercial waste needs to be disposed of safely and efficiently.
Hiring a commercial waste removal company makes sense for many businesses, as they wouldn’t necessarily have the time, equipment or expertise to do this themselves. For example, some industries, such as construction, may generate substantial heavy, and potentially toxic, waste that requires industrial machines and equipment to remove it safely. This can save a business time and money from having to hire equipment and remove the waste themselves.
While waste removal might seem an easy enough term to understand, there are a surprising number of other words that appear to sum up the removal of rubbish, or waste itself. Where do they all stem from?
The first waste management systems were introduced in the UK in the 18th century, where waste was taken to dust yards. Although we no longer use the term dust yards, today these centres are often known by names such as tips, recycling centres or waste removal depots.
Many of the different words for waste originate from either English or American usage. For example, British people throw away rubbish, while Americans refer to rubbish as garbage or trash. Garbage typically relates to wet waste, or items you might throw away in a kitchen, with dry waste, such as packaging and paper, known as trash. A more formal word for rubbish or trash is refuse. Small items of rubbish, such as cans or paper, that aren’t typically thrown away as household waste, are labelled as litter.
Because there are so many processes involved in waste removal and disposal, and even differences in opinion of how waste is viewed or regarded, this means there are many words and terms that sum up this important feature of modern society.
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